Imagine suburban neighbours in straw hats, digging garden beds, sharing anecdotes and gossip over a flask of tea while swapping organic cucumbers for carrots and fresh basil for baby tomatoes? This scene is now a reality for many urban communities in Sydney, and is now on my neighbourhood’s horizon.
Last Saturday our community garden officially opened in an area of fenced land between a local football club and a golf course. It was the fruition of months of hard work by a dedicated committee and team of volunteers to set up garden beds, organise composting bins, a shed, bark chips and bags of garden soil.
The past few months, my mum has been to a workshop on composting and several garden meetings. I must admit I haven’t prioritised gardening
in the past few months ever. I always seem to have something else to do when it’s time to learn about mulching and worms. But I am so glad something like this exists in our neighbourhood, not just for the opportunity to grow vegetables and learn about gardening, but to harvest a sense of community.
Despite the lack of dirt on my hands and sweat on my brow, I went to the opening to support the neighbourhood, and also because the sign said there’d be cake.
We were lucky enough to have Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, speak at the opening. Local school girl Verity (pictured above with Costa) baked a fabulous cake in his honour. She even made a little marzipan Costa, along with the marzipan vegetables.
Costa is a passionate advocate of community gardens as valuable neighbourhood resources: “It’s not about growing the vegetables, it’s about growing the community” said Costa. “Down the track, I see chooks and a Men’s Shed. Instead of meeting a friend down the road for coffee, bring them to the community garden.”
A sausage sizzle, raffle, flower stall, homemade cupcakes and lemonade, kids activities and a community garage sale kept over 200 people amused and well-fed on the day.
So I can see the community garden becoming the hot new hangout in my ‘hood. Disappointingly but not surprisingly, the eye-candy neighbours I see from my living room windows did not attend the opening. Maybe their hands are full with the bonsai on their balcony.
Here are some more pictures from the day…
A final look at Verity’s cake. Because… cake! It was delicious by the way.
Do you have a community garden in your neighbourhood?